Jerry Butler- The Best of Jerry Butler

This was one dollar and a good chance to put some soul music on the site. After what proved to be almost a book of a post on Thursday coupled with the fact that this is Saturday should make this brief.

This is a greatest hits compilation from Mercury Records from the former lead singer of the Impressions/ the current Cook County Commissioner Jerry Butler.  Born in 1939 in Sunflower, Mississippi, The Iceman moved to Chicago as a youth and used music and church as his escape from poverty (he sung in the local church choir with Impression’s band mate Curtis Mayfield).

He left the Impressions in 1960 to pursue a solo career which spawned a good amount of hits in the 60’s and 70’s which this record (released in 1978) compiles.  Butler is still singing and performing somewhat while serving his commissioner duties.  

This record is pretty good but what else would you expect from a greatest hits album?  The songs are good an probably warrant more explanation from me but I am posted out this week so all I am going to say is here is “Hey Western Union Man”, from 1968 which was #16 on the US chart as well as #1 R&B chart.

Great little collection of R&B/pop.  Satisfactory.

Nick Noble-Music For Lovers

This was from the collection of records I received from Big Al Pallister’s estate. So it is at zero cost. Why I picked this one, I do not know. Maybe to get it out of the way.

Nick Noble (born in 1926) was a Chicago born and bred singer who had some Billboard hits between 1957 and 1959.  Although he always remained popular in his hometown, he regained some national fame both in the early sixties as well as 1978.  Besides serving in the Navy towards the end of WWII, Noble was the nephew of Lou Mitchell, who opened the namesake Chicago Restaurant, in which Noble would later become an owner. He would die in 2012 at the age of 85.

Lou Mitchell’s Web Page

This record was released by Mercury’s Wing subsidiary and distributed in Canada by Quality Records.  Wing had some success in the late 50’s so that is when I am guessing this came out.  Alright album.  Kind of that old school 50’s crooner style that died with the advent of rock and roll.

For a sample, I went with “Right or Wrong”.

This album really is not my cup of tea but I do wonder if my pal Al Jr (whose father owned this record) was perhaps conceived because of it.  For that reason,  satisfactory enough.

 

Al Melgard- At The Chicago Stadium

DSCN5116 (1024x1012)This was a bit mid range at $3.00 but being a hockey fan, I thought I should check it out.  Also maybe to try and get some of the Chicago people I know on the blog bandwagon.  Organ music at sports events is kind of a lost art form.  I remember it enough at sporting events when I was a kid but it was just starting to compete with pre-taped songs.  It was the beginning of the end of an era which to my knowledge is pretty much dead now.  I mean, I think some stadiums still have organs but they are used sparingly as a mere gesture to days gone by.a11

Chicago Stadium, built in 1929 and demolished in 1994, was the home of the Blackhawks for all years of its existence (It also housed the Bulls since 1967). I should point out here what little fruit was reaped during those years as the Edmonton Oilers won more cups in less than 10 years than the Hawks during their complete tenure in Chicago Stadium.  However, I am  sure I will get reminded about the Hawk’s recent history as well as how well the Oilers are doing now.

More history on the stadium

chicago-stadium

Very much an old school stadium, it the last arena to use an analog score clock.  It was also known as one of the loudest arenas in hockey due to its shape. This was also due to what was the world’s largest theatre pipe organ according to both Wikipedia and the album cover.  Chicago.ChicagoStadi.1929BartonOrga.0420.121210

Built by Barton, it consisted of 40,000 pipes, 883 stops, and six manual keyboards (according to the back cover as Wikipedia and most other sources say 3,663 pipes). There is a popular story about how during a riot after a boxing match, the organ player opened most of the stops, cranked up the volume, and blasted the middle keys.  The result was a fury of sound that blew out most of the lights, thus causing people to leave and quelling the riot.

A Link to more information on the organ

Page from the Pipe Organ Database

 

melgard

The man behind the keys that night was the subject of this album, Al Melgard, the Melancholy Dane.  Born in Denmark, he came to Chicago with his family when he was six months old. In 1930, he became the third and most well known organist in the history of the stadium, despite losing his left index finger.  With a list in his head of over 1,000 songs, he was one of the first to match songs with on ice occurrences.  For example, when King Clancy was refereeing, Melgard would play “Clancy Lowered the Boom” when he made calls.  He also played “Three Blind Mice” whenever the officials would take to the ice, a move that greatly angered Clarence Campbell. (inevitably, Campbell put the brakes on this). A very popular figure, he retired in 1974 and died in a nursing home in Las Vegas in 1977 at age 88.1734

As far as the organ, upon closure, it was bought and put in a club for a while until the owner moved it to Arizona.  A warehouse fire destroyed some of the owners other Barton’s, but it would appear the stadium console survived.  According to undated sources, it is currently in the Las Vegas home of property magnate, Phillip Maloof.

Link to the Organ restoration

This album, released in 1958,  is a collection of simple tunes played on the great organ by Melgard.  Apparently the sound of wind thru the pipes made recording difficult.  Anyway, other than the US service songs and “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”, the rest of the melodies are from a bygone era.  But despite not knowing the songs, this is a decent piece of history and an interesting collection of sound.  It would probably sound better live but those days have past. I believe this and three more records Melgard put out sold well.   DSCN5117 (1009x1024)

For a sample, I was really torn. I really liked “Asleep in the Deep” with its aquatic tones.  I also thought “Butcher Boy” was a more traditional stadium piece and had a gone range of tones.  Then I was torn between the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the “Marine Hymn”.  Posting anything over four songs is sloth to me but I am sure this is out of print, so for historical reasons, here is all four songs.

ChiStadLastgame

Satisfactory enough record.

Lou Rawls- The Best Of Lou Rawls

DSCN5070 (1024x1008)This was 80 cents.  When I bought it, i was reminded of the nonsensical internet cartoon from the Simpsons, “Lou Rawls- Secret Agent”.

However, when I wrote this post, I had received a prostate exam the same day.  Although not as intrusive as a colonoscopy, it still was not great.  I found this clip, however that made me laugh about it.  My doctor was not as smooth as Lou.

This is an early greatest hits record from Louis Allen Rawls (1933-2016).  It came out in 1974 I believe and contains about eight of his biggest hits to date including two monologues. Pretty decent stuff but then again, it is a greatest hits record.  If it was not Saturday (or probably more importantly, if not had been violated earlier today), I might have written more about Lou Rawls, this record, Chicago (where Rawls is from), or something interesting, but unfortunately for you, these two events have conspired to give you what you see here today.DSCN5069 (1022x1024)

For a sample, I went with two; “It Was A very Good Year” and “Dead End Street”.tumblr_nfwuvgTuZp1tuy8zto2_1280

Top Rated Record.

VA-The Best of the Chicago Blues


DSCN4683 (800x798)This was $3.00 for a two record set.  Plus it is a  Vanguard record which is generally pretty good.  I got it at a record show.chicago-skyline

Ah Chicago.  The third most populous city in the US.  The king of the second tier cities.  Home of the Cubs, Second City, and the blues.  A bit trite in this paragraph but then again, it is Saturday.DSCN4687 (800x796) (2)

The Blues has been a staple of Chicago music with all roads pointing to the bluesmen who immigrated to the big city from the South, most notably Mississippi.  Luminaries like Muddy Waters forged an urban sound which defined the genre. The electric guitar and harmonica are the chief drivers of this sound. Artists represented on the album include Jimmy Cotton, Junior Wells, Otis Spann, J.B. Hutto, Buddy Guy, Homesick James, Big Walter Horton, and Johnny Young,  Overall, this double album is a great collection of the blues.DSCN4686 (800x800)

I can not remember why I chose so many tunes for samples but I did so here we go.  Starting off is Buddy Guy with “Money”.  Next we have Jimmy Cotton on “Rocket 88”.  Big Walter Horton is joined on harmonica by Memphis Charlie Musselwhite and Johnny Shines on guitar for “Rockin My Boogie”.  Homesick James does “Somebody Been Talkin” with the other big name in Chicago blues, Willie Dixon on bass.  Pianist Otis Spann takes a turn with “Spann’s Stomp”.  Finally, Junior Wells (with Guy on guitar) finishes it up with “Tabacco Road”.  That is six tracks.  Kind of poor editing on my part.DSCN4684 (798x800)

Top Rated record for sure. Enjoy the plethora of samples.